13 SMART Goals Examples for Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, affects people of all ages. It’s an uncomfortable feeling of tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing, which can hinder quality of life.

But with the proper management and treatment plan, it is possible to reduce the frequency and intensity of shortness of breath. That’s where the SMART strategy comes in.

SMART goals can help individuals develop a plan to improve lung function and respiratory health. Here, we’ll explore 13 SMART goals examples for shortness of breath to take control of symptoms.

From lifestyle changes to professional treatments, these goals are designed to help you gradually enhance your breathing and overall well-being.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART system enables you to establish goals for handling shortness of breath. For those unaware, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Let’s dive deeper into every SMART element:


It may seem like a no-brainer, but the more precise your shortness of breath goals are, the higher your chances of reaching them. Vague goals can be challenging, whereas specific goals provide clarity and direction.

For instance, suppose you strive to improve your lung capacity. You could aim to “increase the walking duration by 10 minutes within four weeks.” This type of goal provides clear guidance on what must be done.


Measurable goals are crucial because they allow you to monitor progress effectively. When developing a goal, make sure it can be quantified. It will be more manageable to succeed in your health journey.


Make sure you consider your current abilities and strengths when creating goals for shortness of breath. After all, unrealistic goals may result in frustration. That will enable you to have a set of objectives that fall within your existing skill set.


You should laser-focus on goals that are important to your overall lung health. Doing so provides you with the encouragement and resolve to push through difficulties. By better understanding your core values, you can start pursuing meaningful goals.


A timeline can assist you in organizing your tasks based on how urgent and important they are, enabling you to manage time efficiently. That way, you can avoid distractions to stay focused and progress toward success.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Shortness of Breath

Here are examples of SMART goals for shortness of breath:

1. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

“I’ll practice three deep breathing exercises for 10 minutes daily within the next four months to help manage my shortness of breath. I’ll track my progress and document how I feel before and after every exercise.”

Specific: The individual aims to practice three deep breathing exercises for 10 minutes daily.

Measurable: You could document how you feel before and after the exercises.

Attainable: This is reachable because 10 minutes daily is absolutely doable.

Relevant: The statement is appropriate because it helps to manage shortness of breath.

Time-based: You have a four-month window to accomplish success.

2. Increase Physical Activity

“I will boost the amount of physical activity I do to improve my shortness of breath by 10% in three weeks. I plan to do this by adding a 20-minute walk to my daily routine and engaging in light strengthening exercises at work.”

Specific: This SMART goal outlines what should be done and the timeline to achieve it.

Measurable: You can gauge progress by noting the time spent on physical activity.

Attainable: It is definitely realistic to boost physical activity over three weeks.

Relevant: This is pertinent since exercise can help improve your condition.

Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated after three whole weeks.

3. Eat Healthy and Balanced Diet

“I will create and maintain a meal plan that includes a balanced diet of healthy foods with the help of a nutritionist by the end of two months. I want to get the right amount of nutrients to keep my body healthy and strong.”

Specific: The statement details what the person must do to meet their target and when to reach it.

Measurable: Ensure you consult a nutritionist and follow their meal plan.

Attainable: Two months is enough time to follow a meal plan with the proper nutrients.

Relevant: Eating a balanced diet is vital for people with difficulty breathing, as it may help improve their overall health.

Time-based: The statement has a two-month deadline to meet long-term success.

4. Improve Air Quality in the Home

“I want to reduce my shortness of breath by improving air quality in the home within three months. To do this, I will use air purifiers and invest in a quality dehumidifier to reduce the amount of allergens and pollutants in the air.”

Specific: You plan to change the home environment to improve air quality.

Measurable: You could determine the air quality through a testing device.

Attainable: Finding quality air purifiers and dehumidifiers is not too difficult these days.

Relevant: Making changes to your home environment can minimize shortness of breath.

Time-based: Success will be met over the course of three months.

5. Stop Smoking

“I’ll quit smoking and abstain from all tobacco products within four months. I will use methods such as quitting support groups, nicotine replacement therapy, and avoiding triggers to stay smoke-free.”

Specific: This person aims to quit smoking and abstain from all tobacco products within four months.

Measurable: Check how many days you have abstained from smoking and tobacco products.

Attainable: This is feasible using available resources such as quitting support groups and nicotine replacement therapy.

Relevant: Quitting smoking has numerous health benefits, making the SMART goal suitable.

Time-based: There is a four-month end date to reach this particular goal.

6. Avoid Polluted Areas

“I will make a concerted effort to avoid polluted areas and places aggravating my shortness of breath. I’ll monitor air quality and plan my route to avoid these areas, aiming to complete this by the end of two months.”

Specific: The goal outlines what you need to do (avoid polluted areas and monitor air quality) and how long it’s expected to be done (two months).

Measurable: You could count how often you have avoided polluted areas and monitored air quality over time.

Attainable: Avoiding polluted areas is possible and can be done through careful planning.

Relevant: This goal will help you avoid places that worsen your well-being.

Time-based: You have two whole months to accomplish this statement.

7. Monitor Your Symptoms

“Within the next three weeks, I will measure my ability to breathe twice a day and note any changes in severity. I want to be sure I can identify any changes in my symptoms and seek medical attention if needed.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, stating precisely the objective and how it will be accomplished.

Measurable: By recording severity twice daily, you can track changes in your condition.

Attainable: This SMART goal can be met by setting a reminder and noting changes in severity.

Relevant: Monitoring symptoms allows you to track changes in your condition.

Time-based: There is a three-week timeline for accomplishing this goal.

8. Take a Lung Function Test

“I will schedule an appointment with a doctor or specialist for a lung function test by the end of the month. I hope to make sure that a medical condition does not cause my shortness of breath.”

Specific: The aim is explicit because it states when to schedule a lung function test.

Measurable: You can check to see if you’ve scheduled a lung function test over one month.

Attainable: A lung function test is relatively easy to access for almost everyone.

Relevant: The goal relates to discovering if a medical condition causes difficulty with breathing.

Time-based: You should expect goal attainment within one month.

9. Get Vaccinated for Seasonal Illnesses

“To help protect myself and others from seasonal illnesses, I will get my flu shot before the end of the calendar year. I’ll also get the other necessary vaccinations for my region.”

Specific: This SMART goal is clear about which vaccinations are needed.

Measurable: Ensure you get all necessary vaccines by the end of the calendar year.

Attainable: The goal is definitely possible, as vaccines are readily available to the public.

Relevant: Getting vaccinated is crucial in keeping yourself and others healthy.

Time-based: You have until the end of this calendar year to meet this statement.

10. Participate in Pulmonary Rehabilitation

“By the end of 6 months, I will have participated in a pulmonary rehabilitation program for two hours per week. The program should focus on strengthening my lungs and reducing symptoms of shortness of breath.”

Specific: You’ll partake in a pulmonary rehabilitation program for two hours weekly.

Measurable: You can measure how much of the program you have completed.

Attainable: This is reachable since pulmonary rehabilitation programs are widely available.

Relevant: The goal is suitable because it will help to strengthen the individual’s lungs and reduce symptoms of shortness of breath.

Time-based: The SMART goal is time-bound since it has an end date of 6 months.

11. Attend Support Groups

“I will attend two support group meetings for the three months ahead to understand myself and my condition better. I hope to gain insights into managing my shortness of breath and build relationships with others with the same condition.”

Specific: The statement is evident, detailing the overall objective and how to achieve it.

Measurable: You could track the number of support group meetings in the provided timeline.

Attainable: Support groups are available in most communities, so this is doable with some effort.

Relevant: This goal statement will support those struggling with breathlessness.

Time-based: You have three whole months for goal achievement.

12. Use Relaxation Techniques

“I’ll aim to practice relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and yoga twice a week for 5 months to reduce shortness of breath.”

Specific: The specific statement outlines the desired outcome and the time frame.

Measurable: Ensure that the person practices relaxation techniques twice weekly for 5 months.

Attainable: The timeline provided is enough to learn and incorporate relaxation techniques into their routine slowly.

Relevant: This is relevant to managing shortness of breath, as relaxation techniques can help manage symptoms.

Time-based: There is a 5-month deadline to reach this certain goal.

13. Seek Professional Help

“I will seek the help of a respiratory therapist or pulmonologist if my breathlessness becomes unmanageable within three months. I understand that early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious consequences or further exacerbations of my condition.”

Specific: This outlines who you should seek help from (a respiratory therapist or pulmonologist) and when (three-month period).

Measurable: You’ll be able to count how many times you seek professional help.

Attainable: The goal is feasible as medical professionals are likely readily accessible.

Relevant: Finding professional assistance is necessary for dealing with breathlessness.

Time-based: You have a three-month window to seek out medical advice.

Final Thoughts

You should realize that shortness of breath is a common symptom that numerous underlying conditions can cause. But it’s possible to manage and improve the symptoms with the right plan.

By establishing SMART goals, those with breathlessness can take control of their condition. The examples of goals listed in this post will enhance your overall quality of life.

You’ll be able to gauge progress and celebrate milestones as you work towards boosting your respiratory health and reducing the intensity of your condition.

Photo of author

Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.